In the spring of 1940, Britain and France on one side and Germany on the other began military measures which brought to an end the so-called ‘phoney war’. Both sides began operations in Scandinavia. In an extension their strategy of blockade, Britain and France were anxious to deprive Germany of supplies of Swedish iron ore. They had originally contemplated sending troops across northern Norway and Sweden to help the Finns in their war against Russia and hoped, in the process, to obtain control of the export of the iron ore fields. When the Finns capitulated, the British and French adopted the alternative plan of laying mines in Norwegian territorial waters to block the ice-free route down the Norwegian coast which the Germans used. Unprepared themselves to go so far as violating Norwegian neutral territory, they anticipated that their measures could provoke a German attack upon the Scandinavian countries, to which they could respond by seizing the iron ore fields. Anglo-French disagreements delayed the operation. The mine laying began on 8 April, but the Germans had already despatched forces to occupy Denmark and Norway.
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- The War of 1941
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- Chapter 8